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This non alcoholic virgin margarita recipe tastes as good as the real thing! It’s bursting with citrus flavor and perfect for anyone who wants a fun and flavorful mocktail.

Virgin Margarita with lime garnishes and salt rim.
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Craving a margarita but don’t want the alcohol? Enter our favorite non alcoholic virgin margarita recipe! This one is a fan favorite: tangy and refreshing, punctuated by that classic salt rim.

A surprise ingredient brings a funky flavor that’s reminiscent of tequila: we can’t wait to hear what you think! The drink is balanced just right with sweet and tart: truly the non alcoholic mocktail spin on our favorite classic margarita recipe! Alex and I make this often when we’re craving a refreshing citrusy drink without the booze.

This zero proof margarita is also great for guests who don’t drink alcohol, as a mocktail for pregnant women, or a baby shower drink (make one for mom, then a classic margarita for guests).

“My sis-in-law made this yesterday and it was FANTASTIC! We were all shocked at how much it did taste like a margarita.” -Alex

Ingredients in a virgin margarita

Here’s how to make everyone’s favorite cocktail into a margarita mocktail! The classic definition of a margarita is tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Often a zero-proof margarita tastes just like lime juice and soda water, and we wanted to create something more interesting. Alex had the perfect idea: pickle juice! That secret ingredient adds a funky edge that is reminiscent of tequila. Here are the ingredients you’ll need.

  • Lime juice: Fresh lime juice should be squeezed from a lime; avoid bottled juice since it has compromised flavor.
  • Lemon juice: Using lemon juice along with the fresh lime adds nuance to the citrus, which is helpful in a mocktail since there is no alcohol.
  • Tonic water: Tonic water has a slight sweet and bitter flavor, which also adds complexity. We recommend using tonic water instead of club soda, because of those subtle flavors.
  • Maple syrup or simple syrup: Just a bit of sweetener to balances the tartness of the citrus.
  • Pickle juice: Using the juice from a pickle jar adds to add the tequila “funk” to the flavors in this zero proof cocktail! It really works. A good substitution is olive juice.
virgin margarita with lime garnishes and salt rim.

The secret? Pickle juice.

Pickle juice adds intrigue to the flavor in this non alcoholic virgin margarita recipe, making it taste like more than just fruit juice! In our recipe testing, we found it tastes even better than a non-alcoholic tequila. If you don’t have it on hand, olive juice works too!

It adds a briny funk that makes you feel like there’s a little alcohol in it, but it’s not so much that it’s noticeable! Of course, you can omit if it weirds you out. But after multiple taste tests, pickle juice in a non alcoholic margarita was the clear winner!

Less sugar than the standard virgin margarita recipe

We like cocktails recipes that are sweet tart around here, so this drink stands out from the standard mocktail that is intensely sweet. The sugar in this mocktail comes from two sources:

  • Maple syrup or simple syrup. You can use whichever you’d like: maple syrup is a great natural sweetener with no refined sugar.
  • A hint of sugar in the tonic water. Tonic water is essential to the flavor here, so we recommend finding it for this virgin margarita. We buy a brand that comes in small cans, which is nice since you’ll only use a small amount for one drink.

Tip: Tonic water is a carbonated water that contains quinine and is lightly sweetened. It originally was used against malaria, but these days the quinine levels are much lower. Quinine adds a slightly bitter flavor, but it’s not as detectable with today’s lower levels.

Zero proof margarita in glass.

A few more margarita variations

If you also drink alcohol (or have friends who do), there are lots of fun variations on this classic drink! Here are some of the best margarita recipes:

More non alcoholic mocktails

Non alcoholic mocktails are becoming increasingly popular as people seek out refreshing alternatives to alcoholic drinks. A variety of fresh juices, herbs, spices, and sparkling waters can create complex and satisfying virgin drinks. To be honest, we love both cocktails and mocktails equally!

Not only are zero proof mocktails perfect for dry January or people wanting to cut back on alcohol, but they’re ideal for pregnant women, designated drivers, and anyone wo enjoys a good drink without the buzz! Here are a few of our top mocktail recipes:

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this virgin margarita recipe ahead of time?

Absolutely! Just prepare the mix without ice and tonic water and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days. When ready to serve, add ice and fresh lime wedges.

Can I make this recipe spicy?

Yes! Muddle a few jalapeno slices in the shaker with your other ingredients for a kick. Start with 1 or 2 slices and adjust to your spice preference.

What are some fun garnishes for a virgin margarita?

Classic options include lime wedges or a sprinkle of coarse salt or margarita salt on the rim. Get creative with herbs like basil or mint leaves, or even a sprinkle of Tajin seasoning!

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Virgin margarita

Virgin Margarita (Non Alcoholic!)

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4.8 from 12 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


This virgin margarita recipe tastes as good as the real thing! Try the secret ingredient that makes this non-alcoholic mocktail so satisfying.


  • 1 ounce* fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon maple syrup or simple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon pickle juice (or more to taste)*
  • 3 ounces tonic water
  • For the garnish: Lime wheel


  1. Cut a notch in a lime wedge, then run the lime around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of flaky sea salt (or for a festive look, use Margarita Salt).
  2. In the serving glass, stir together the lime juice, lemon juice, maple syrup, and pickle juice. Add the tonic water and ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve.


*Pickle juice is the liquid from a pickle jar, and recommended for using in this recipe: it adds just the right funky flavor to mimic tequila. Olive juice also works in a pinch!

To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons.

  • Category: Mocktail
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Desarae says:

    Wondering if these could be made ahead of time and recommendations for how best to do that? TIA!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      You could mix everything but the tonic water up to an hour ahead, but any more than that and it would start to lose flavor.

  2. Karl says:

    I’m trying to find a way to make a non alcoholic tequila (not margarita). I’m thinking Tabasco, lemon, lime. What else. Any suggestions?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We haven’t really played with that! I think the tabasco is a good idea as that nasal burn is so important to the flavor.

  3. Lisa says:

    I like this! A few questions

    1. If you strain the juice from your refrigerator pickles, will that work for pickle juice?

    2 I like jalapeño margaritas. If I add jalapeños to the refrigerator pickles, do I need to modify the amount of jalapeños?

    3. I like the pineapple sweet and spicy with jalapeño margaritas. If I add pineapple juice, can I substitute club soda for tonic water? And do I skip the simple syrup?


    1. Alex Overhiser says:


      1) It might work, but it would probably be a little less good that storebought dill pickles.
      2) That should work if you go this way! It’s easier to just stir in one slice of jalapeno to the drink.
      3) Yes! I like that idea. You may need to adjust sweetness slightly.

  4. Maggie says:

    This recipe is the best. I chopped a piece of zest from the squizzed lime and put it in the glass as well. And I also found a nice substitute for a pickle juice (equally as weird) that works great and is bitter and salty at the same time – water from green olives in a jar (olive juice?). Worked great! Thanks for the guilty-free alternative for the summer!

  5. Jill F says:

    Loved it! Followed instructions exactly. Amazing mock marg! I read comments on more pickle juice and may try a bit more but not necessary to get that “real” flavor. I did use really good tonic…may try diet version next time. For someone trying to avoid alcohol for any reason but wanting to have a great summer drink with friends…this is it!

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